West Winch man left with £75,000 legal bill after housing court case

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane.
The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane.

A West Norfolk man has been left with a legal bill of almost £75,000 over his management of what officials claimed was a dangerous house of multiple occupation.

Paul Turner, 47, of Manor Farm House, West Winch, was convicted of 17 offences relating to the property, an old pub, by magistrates in Boston in February.

Four of those convictions have now been overturned at Lincoln Crown Court.

But, despite that, Turner has been ordered to pay more than £74,000 in fines and costs, up from the £58,000 originally imposed.

At least 18 people, including two young children, were living at the building when enforcement officers visited the property in February last year.

Turner’s appeal was granted on four of the charges against him, relating to an allegedly unsafe washing machine, allegedly unguarded flat roof, a first-floor landing light and an en-suite light fitting respectively.

But the appeal on the other charges was dismissed, as the court deemed there had been breaches of fire safety duties which placed one or more of the occupants at risk of death or serious injury.

The court also concluded that Turner’s evidence was unconvincing and some documents presented in support of the appeal had been prepared after the event.

Turner was initially fined £47,000 and told to pay more than £11,000 in costs by magistrates.

But the fine was increased to £50,000 following the appeal. He was also ordered to pay Boston Borough Council’s legal costs of over £13,000 on top of the court costs.

Dan Moss, prevention and protection manager for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire.

“If they are ignoring those responsibilities and putting people at risk, we will not hesitate to prosecute.

“The penalty imposed on Mr Turner is a clear reminder to landlords that the courts take safety as seriously as we do and the penalties for not doing so are severe.”